A pioneer of the now-booming YouTube sneaker community, J-Star25 has amassed an enormous 1.8 million views on his video channel! A key player in the online sneaker scene, J-Star provides in-depth analysis on fake sneakers, quality control and key issues relevant to freakers worldwide, while also finding time to run sneakershoebox.com. We chop it up with the kick-fiend about his favourite sneaks and what it's like to connect with sneakerheads across the globe!
You have well over 1.8 million views and 12400 subscribers, how do you think you became such a popular YouTube personality?
Just being myself, I could play a part and act like a "character" but over time that would have become tough to maintain. I've always been a truth person and would rather have people see me for me. Over the years I've grown, even changed my own opinion on some aspects of the sneaker culture with the help from my following. I love to be challenged and my following has been instrumental on my growth.
You're known for tackling issues important to sneakerheads, rather than just showing off shoes. Which issues have inspired the most conversation in the comments?
Anytime I speak on Jordan Brand that seems to drive a lot of conversation. I have a real love-hate relationship with Jordan Brand, I love what they once were and where that can be, I hate where they currently are. While I see some improvements here and there the problem is they are not consistent in the quality they release. I also get a lot of conversation when I speak on resellers. Seems that topic really strikes a nerve with people one way or the other. Supply and demand is a concept I feel sneakerheads on the hunt just don't want hear or accept unless they have the sneaker in demand and are trying to sell it. It's really a tough topic to say the least.
After your video regarding the quality of Jordan Brand releases, have you copped any Jordan retros? The quality has definitely become a bigger issue in the six months since your video.
Truthfully I've bought the YOTD 2012 which isn't a retro but is clearly the quality that we expect from the retros we buy. Other than that I think the only retro I have from this year is the Dave White Air Jordan I. Funny thing is people approach me as if I've boycotted Jordan Brand all together, when really the point was to open peoples eyes and help them be more selective. I just found myself getting Jordans, then getting a closer look and feel of them realizing they weren't up to par yet I would get the next pair that dropped. I just choose to hop off of the merry-go-round, Jordan Brand can do better. Michael Jordan is the face of the franchise and right now the brand is in the "Wizards" years. They're not even contenders but fans still show up. They need to get back to the "Bulls" years dominant and on top.
Which has been your most popular video?
Real vs fake sneaker videos really are the most popular although now the sneaker discussion videos have really taken off.
Which brand do you think are currently putting out the best quality sneakers?
That's a good question, I'd have to go with Nike, Asics, New Balance, Li-Ning, Adidas & Supra. As I think about some of the shoes I have from each brand I think 'have any of them really disappointed me?' These brands always seem to meet my expectations. Some actually exceed my expectations, example Nike Lebron 9 Elite, Adidas SuperBeast East 2011, Li-Ning Turningpoint.
You also run sneakershoebox.com, how long has the site been operational?
The site launched in 2009 as a way to help answer some of the more common questions I was being asked via YouTube.
What is the idea behind the site?
The site has evolved and is now really a growing resource for the culture. We are actively trying to help connect people with resources to help them grow and enjoy this culture. We have a legit list, basically a way to help people know they are buying from someone that actually sells real sneakers. We also have a fresh list to help people get connected with fresh hats, shirts etc. We post articles in most cases to challenge people to think, respond and become more of an individual in this culture. We have more things planned to help the culture and hope to continually grow as a trusted resource.
You have colab tees with Jumpman Bostic and are often talking to people in your Twitter and YouTube comments; there seems to be a great social element to the scene of sneaker video bloggers. Can you talk about that? Is it getting bigger?
I think that is truly the best part about my experience is the relationships we build and the interaction around the sneaker community. I just don't see the need to ignore people when they ask for help. Often when I respond to people they are almost amazed that I took the time but I feel if you want to change the culture or contribute to it you need to make time for people. I enjoy interacting over YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and even more in person, I try to remain as approachable as possible. This culture is fun and it doesn't get much better than talking kicks with others that share the passion.
Now that the NBA season is over, what were your favorite basketball releases this year?
I have become the biggest fan of the Nike Zoom LWP Rookie, Li-Ning Turningpoint, Nike Lebron 9 & Elite, Air Jordan 2012, AdiRose 2.0. These have all been pleasant surprises for me this season.